As the polls were closing, results came quickly in and the victor of our presidential election was announced, I sighed with relief. I'm so thankful it's over, I'm so thankful it was decided quickly, I'm so thankful we have the freedom to participate in the process of choosing our leaders and defining our laws. It's not a perfect system (do I remember the details of the electoral college from 5th grade? no, I do not.), but I believe it to be a just one. For the most part. I think.
The question I struggle with on the day after the day after is... where do we go from here? Where do we meet, exchange ideas, compromise? How does one move past the disappointment of a race lost (or the ecstasy of a race won) and into the realm of a still-broken world that needs hope, longs for grace, aches for love?
We know a guy, from way back when we were a mismatched Bible college couple deciding on churches based on the contemporary context of the hymnal. He was our friend, but you know, you move and lose touch and only occasionally interact (on Facebook, of course) during things like world-wide catastrophes and presidential elections.
For our old friend, Tuesday was both. And raving rants of exile, Babylon, the suffering of (American) Christians, and the coming tribulations were really too much for my hope-tinted-with-realism heart to bear. I get the pain of defeat, but I don't get the doom. I get the frustration and rage against the machine, but I don't get the end times analogy. I get the "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" But I don't get the, "I feel like we're living in the last book of Jeremiah!" For reals, look it up. It's a doozy.
This is what I wanted to say to him: Even in Babylon, even when the Jews were exiled and living under a dictatorship, God told them to build houses. He told them to plant gardens. He told them to raise up children and see them married. He told them to pray for the peace and prosperity of their city, for if the city experienced a renaissance - a rebirth - so would they! And He said, "I've not forgotten you. This is the plan we're going with. It'll be good, I promise." (I'm paraphrasing.)
The issue of their lives and hearts was so far beyond our petty political process. They were refugees, spiritual exiles, victims of ethnic cleansing! They were not pouting republicans or foot-stomping democrats. And really, all the evil in all the world is so far beyond the results of a free election in a free country (it's quite possible North Korea is living in some sort of last book of Jeremiah black hole).
But back here in 'Merica, even if your guy won on Tuesday, the problems - and the moral issues that wrought them - won't go away in a day. And if your guy lost, you're still expected to be an active member of society, still expected to contribute. Whatever result we did or didn't wish for, we have no excuse to bury our heads in the sand.
And I think, for those of us who know and try to follow Jesus (I say try because even still, I sometimes get so lost on the rocky path), we're even more compelled, on the day after the day after, to love more and be more and look more for where God is moving.
We join Him there. We cannot run away. We gotta plant those gardens, build those houses, raise up our kiddos and pray for the peace and prosperity of our city.
I think this is called Kingdom living: doing what we can to bring a bit of heaven down to earth.
And I would so much rather try to shine a little bit of heaven's light 'round these parts, than rain down hellfire and brimstone. We've got enough of that here, already.
How did this election affect you? Got any helpful hints for hope and healing? Boom: Alliteration.